Crashing Down

The thing that’s been worrying me the most lately is the sudden decline of my grandad. We’ve known for a few years that he’s steadily been getting slower and slower with everything, but it’s really hit home in recent months just how bad he’s got. The doctors now think that he could be well on his way with Alzheimers. We all have to admit, no matter how bad it feels, that it would make sense.

Having never experienced anything like this before I know this is going to be hard. But then again, it’s not come as a surprise. It’s very difficult to talk to him about anything because he continually keeps forgetting what he was talking about. He then feels bad and makes a mental note not to talk any more… when he needs to be doing the exact opposite. He needs to try to keep his brain active.

That’s been half the problem. When I was younger, I remember my grandad used to read books all the time. He’d always watch the news, read the papers, do crosswords, go for walks, see his friends, etc. But then he retired. After that, he seemed to go on a steady fall into nothingness. He is now totally dependent on my gran, who has a terrible habit of finishing sentences for him, making him even worse.

Yesterday they were both sitting in our back garden. There were a few of us out there with them, and we were talking almost the entire time. But my grandad barely said anything. He knows he can’t keep up. He feels inadequate. And because the doctors are going to take him to an assessment centre once a week from now on, he keeps telling everyone that he doesn’t want to get put into a home, despite being told hundreds of times that he isn’t going to be.

What it shows to me is how vital it is to be thoroughly independent and to keep active. I’m always reading, always thinking… always doing puzzles of one kind or another. Always inquisitive about things. But I’m sure my grandad used to be all of those too.

I’m sure there are going to be sad times ahead. And we’ve had quite enough of those already lately. My mum’s cousin and her husband have always been close to our family, and they have been in a terrible time lately involving their son. He’s not someone I’ve ever met, but I know my “aunty” and “uncle” really well (of course, they aren’t my aunty/uncle, but that’s how I’ve always thought of them) and have a lot of respect for them. The details are too long to write here, but suffice to say I’m thinking of them a lot at the moment.

After all the enthusiasm and excitement of the past couple of months, life has a habit of bringing you back down with a bump…

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